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Old May 14, 2006, 6:20 AM   #1
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My Dad is a dentist and is looking for a camera to take high quality dental shots. This website http://www.digitaldentalcameras.com/cameras.htmsuggests some DSLR options and some digital compact options. The quality of the sample photos lookgreat but there doesn't seem to be much difference in quality between the expensive DSLR's and the compacts.

Originally I thought a DSLR with macro zoom would be the best option but the good compacts seem tocome witha macro mode inbuilt-is thiscomparable with a macro zoom on a DSLR? I'm guessing a compact will also be much easier to use, which is important as he won't use advanced options and his associates and nurses may also be taking the photos.

Looking at the 2 compacts I've listed above they also havegood zooms and the video option which will be useful when he's using the camera for personal use.

That is pushing me towards thea compact choice. He is not really restricted on budget sothe Nikon 8800 and CanonS3 lookto bethe best 2 options from thosebrands.

2 questions...

Firstly is our analysis reasonably accurate or is there anything important we haven't considered?

Secondly,any obvious reasons to choosethe Nikonover theCanon or reverse?



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Old May 14, 2006, 8:39 AM   #2
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I have a dentist friend and I've talked to him about this when he opened his practice, and from what I got from him, you don't really need a real dSLR with macro. This is because you don't really need detail on a per-tooth basis, but more on teeth alignment. He ended up buying a compact, Canon SD 630, but I think even the cheaper Canon A500 or the A600 series is good enough.

I think the main problem is controlling light. To get better detail, you need to diffuse light since the flash will be really close to the teeth, and teeth tends to reflect a lot of light. With that, you can probably get a diffuser for a small compact, or even just make one.

'Hope this helps.

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Old May 14, 2006, 8:54 AM   #3
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bobinoz wrote:
...but the good compacts seem to come with a macro mode inbuilt - is this comparable with a macro zoom on a DSLR?
Not to the best dedicated macro lenses but fully comparable/better than more common "macro" capable lenses of DSLRs.
Also close up/macro photos are area in which shallower depht of field of DSLRs becomes easily "paper thin" while small sensor of non-SLRs allows many times longer DOF.
(Depth of Field is distance area around focusing distance which shows as sharp/focused)

Looking at the 2 compacts I've listed above they also have good zooms and the video option which will be useful when he's using the camera for personal use.
Nikon's video mode is very limited... to 60 seconds.

Again S3/2/1's (over)hyped macro capability is based to wide angle macro (heavy distortion and considerable corner softness, also serious lightning problems) which requires cramming camera very close, under 5cm/2", to target which is... well, quite "inconvenient" in case of patients mouth. Then again for its tele macro to work distance is quite big and there's cameras with better tele macro.

Nikon has "mid" zoom macro as addition which doesn't cause heavy distortions.
But there appears to be some corner softness and at least with its wide angle macro flash doesn't work at all:
In Dpreview's review "mid" zoom macro is using 127mm focal length but they don't mention what was focusing distance so it's hard to say would camera's own flash work with it.

So you might want to check KonicaMinolta A200. It's tele macro gives ~13cm (5") lens to target distance and captured area is one the smallest of all digicams when discarding heavy distortion/lot of corner softness wide angle macros. Also camera's own flash works well for macros.
And if that captured area isn't enough very cheap close up lens can reduce it further. Also camera would be great for general photography and takes up to 15 minutes long continuous video clips.

To most of cameras you can make your own flash diffuser very cheaply:
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